Summing up the Decade in Manga

Some notable manga commenters are looking back at the … what do we call the 2000 decade? Anyway, an awful lot happened when it came to the manga industry over those 10 years. Let’s walk back with them through the major changes.

Christopher Butcher is posting a set of essays looking at particular milestone titles, which also touch on the issues of censorship, anime tie-ins, pricing, and bringing in female readers. His second post tackles anthologies (including reprinting one of my favorite manga blog posts ever!) and format changes. This is a must-read history of the manga format in the U.S.

David Welsh adds some of his own, including the establishment of DC’s CMX line. You know, I really enjoy several of their titles, but I agree with David that the imprint has to address their distribution issues. The books are good, but you have to special order them to see them. I don’t see them in bookstores very often.

Deb Aoki goes even further, listing 25 news stories and trends that were significant for the decade. This should be a book of manga history. Go read it.

And one last dishonorable mention: Comic Book Resources posted a decade in review article that gives manga one section titled “The Rise and Fall of Manga”. It seems to have been chosen just to play into non-manga-reader preconceptions, because all of their contributors to the section say “‘fall’ isn’t accurate”. The section can be summed up as “manga became popular”, without much insight beyond that.

Update: Here’s a response to that poorly phrased CBR section — Michael Pinto talks more about how manga means female fandom.

… the one thing that struck me about the article which featured four guys was how it represented the boys clubhouse mindset that still sadly dominates the fanbase for American comics. … [T]he reality is that [anime and manga fandom has] been something that has been building up since the 70s. … [W]ith manga fandom the ladies are actually running the show! And from where I stand this is a great thing because not only is it shaking up the industry, but it’s overdue by 40 years.


  1. Hey Johanna, thanks for the link.

    That CBR article is… something, eh?

    – Chris

  2. Well, it’s reflective of how the core direct market audience thinks about the format, I think. They’re looking for it to fail because then it’s not a threat any more, and they don’t have to admit how much more successful manga is in sales and appealing to a bigger audience.

  3. […] Comics Worth Reading, Johanna Draper Carlson takes exception to a decade-in-review article at CBR that devotes just one section to “The rise and fall of […]

  4. […] There are a lot of manga retrospectives out there, and Johanna links to all the key ones, even the clueless […]

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